Mount Isa Mines’ Black Star open-cut mine in north-west Queensland has moved to a care and maintenance phase after mining out the existing reserve.
Owner Glencore said the mine began production in 2004 with an initial expectation of an eight-year life.
In the end, it delivered 13 years of successful operation, producing about 40 million tonnes of ore, 1.75 million tonnes of contained zinc metal and nearly one million tonnes of contained lead metal.
Glencore chief operating officer for Zinc Assets Australia Greg Ashe praised the Black Star team’s significant contribution to both the industry and the local community.
“The Black Star workforce overcame a number of unique geotechnical and mining challenges presented by an old expansive network of abandoned underground workings. The team adopted an innovative approach to void analysis, which enabled the safe and sustainable recovery of a valuable mineral resource that would otherwise have been inaccessible,” he said.
Glencore said it had implemented a staged workforce transition program over the past three years, with many employees redeployed to other Glencore operations.